Gene H. Golub

Gene H. Golub

Gene Golub in 2007
Born (1932-02-29)February 29, 1932
Chicago, Illinois
Died November 16, 2007(2007-11-16) (aged 75)
Stanford, California
Nationality American
Fields Computer science
Institutions Stanford University
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Doctoral advisor Abraham Taub
Doctoral students Richard P. Brent
Michael Heath
James Lambers
Dianne O'Leary
Michael L. Overton
Michael Saunders
Margaret H. Wright

Gene Howard Golub (February 29, 1932 – November 16, 2007), Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science (and, by courtesy, of Electrical Engineering) at Stanford University, was one of the preeminent numerical analysts of his generation.

Personal life

Born in Chicago, he was educated at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving his B.S. (1953), M.A. (1954) and Ph.D. (1959) all in mathematics.[1] His M.A. degree was more specifically in Mathematical Statistics. His PhD dissertation was entitled "The Use of Chebyshev Matrix Polynomials in the Iterative Solution of Linear Equations Compared to the Method of Successive Overrelaxation" and his thesis adviser was Abraham Taub. Gene Golub succumbed to acute myeloid leukemia on the morning of 16 November 2007 at the Stanford Hospital.[2]

Stanford University

He arrived at Stanford in 1962 and became a professor there in 1970. He advised more than thirty doctoral students, many of whom have themselves achieved distinction. Gene Golub was an important figure in numerical analysis and pivotal to creating the NA-Net and the NA-Digest, as well as the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics.[3]

One of his best-known books is Matrix Computations,[4] co-authored with Charles F. Van Loan. He was a major contributor to algorithms for matrix decompositions. In particular he published an algorithm together with William Kahan in 1970 that made the computation of the singular value decomposition (SVD) feasible and that is still used today. A survey of his work was published in 2007 by Oxford University Press as "Milestones in Matrix Computation".[5]


Golub was awarded the B. Bolzano Gold Medal for Merits in the Field of Mathematical Sciences and was one of the few elected to three national academies: the National Academy of Sciences (1993), the National Academy of Engineering (1990), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1994). He was also a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (1986).

He is listed as an ISI highly cited researcher.[6] He held 11 honorary doctorates and was scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate from ETH Zürich on November 17, 2007. He was a visiting professor at Princeton (1970), MIT (1979), ETH (1974 & 2002), and Oxford (1982, 1998 & 2007).

Gene Golub served as the president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) from 1985 to 1987 and was founding editor of both the SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing (SISC) and the SIAM Journal on Matrix Analysis and Applications (SIMAX).

The bulk of Gene Golub's research work was collaborative. He had at least 181 distinct co-authors [7] and the number may still increase as co-authored papers keep appearing posthumously.


  1. Chen Greif, Gene H. Golub Biography, Online at Oxford University Press , accessed 24 November 2007
  2. Moler, Cleve (2007-11-16), Gene Golub, 1932 - 2007, NA Digest, retrieved 2007-11-17
  3. Trefethen, Lloyd N. (2007), "Obituary: Gene H. Golub (1932–2007)", Nature, 450 (7172): 962, doi:10.1038/450962a, PMID 18075573.
  4. Golub, Gene H.; van Loan, Charles F. (1996), Matrix Computations (3rd ed.), Johns Hopkins University Press;, ISBN 978-0-8018-5414-9
  5. Chan, Raymond; Greif, Chen; O'Leary, Dianne (2007), Milestones in Matrix Computation: The selected works of Gene H. Golub with commentaries, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-920681-0
  6. Thomson ISI, Golub, Gene H., ISI Highly Cited Researchers, retrieved 2007-11-17
  7. Co-authors of "Golub, Gene Howard", retrieved 2011-10-06
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